Understanding Macular Degeneration

The macula is the tiny central part of the retina that is responsible for fine detail vision and color perception. Macular degeneration is a disease that causes deterioration of this very important portion of the retina. It usually affects both eyes, but often begins in one eye.

Types of Macular Degeneration

There are two types of macular degeneration. The ‘dry’ form of macular degeneration begins with small, yellowish deposits that develop in the macula known as drusen. As the disease progresses, there is thinning of the macula, which can lead to gradual vision loss. In the ‘wet’ form, abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the macula and cause the development of blood or fluid. Vision loss can be much more rapid in onset.


Early macular degeneration may cause little, if any, noticeable changes in your vision. A comprehensive eye exam can detect early signs of macular degeneration. As the disease progresses, some symptoms of macular degeneration include:

  • Blurriness or distortion of images
  • Difficulty reading or driving
  • Inability to see details
  • A blind spot in the center of your vision

Home monitoring of your vision with an Amsler grid can help monitor changes in your vision over time.


At NH Eye Associates, we believe in a comprehensive approach to managing macular degeneration. Treatment options can vary considerably depending on whether you have early or more advanced stages of the disease. Our doctors have extensive experience diagnosing and treating macular degeneration and will work with you to find the best treatment option.

Learn more about the treatments we offer:

What To Expect During Your Visit

An evaluation for macular degeneration will typically last about one to two hours from the time you enter the exam room. You will be given eye drops that will dilate your pupils. These drops take about 15-20 minutes to work. They may make your eyes light sensitive and difficult to focus, especially up close, for several hours.

Your doctor will then shine several lights into your eyes, using both an eye microscope and ophthalmoscope. These instruments allow for a thorough examination of the various parts that make up both the outside and inside of your eyes.

Specialized imaging of your retina may also be required to detect any abnormal blood vessels in your macula, including optical coherence tomography (OCT) and fluorescein angiography.

At the completion of your visit, your doctor will review the results of your evaluation and discuss treatment options with you.